Give Tourism a Chance
Palestinian activist Aziz Abu Sarah was a young boy when his brother was arrested for throwing stones at Israelis. His brother died of internal injuries
he sustained during his arrest, leaving Sarah bitter and
wanting revenge — until he went to school to learn
Hebrew, for the first time met Jews who weren’t soldiers,
and decided to dedicate his life to overcoming hate and
bringing people together. How? Through tourism. Here’s
an excerpt from a talk he gave at TED 2014:
And you might be wondering,
really, can tourism change things?
Can it bring down walls? Yes.
Tourism is the best sustainable
way to bring down those walls
and to create a sustainable way of
connecting with each other and
In 2009, I cofounded Mejdi
Tours, a social enterprise that
aims to connect people, with two
Jewish friends, by the way…. For
example, in Jerusalem, we would
have two tour guides, one Israeli
and one Palestinian, guiding the
trips together, telling history and
narrative and archaeology and
conflict from totally different per-
spectives. I remember running a
trip together with a friend named
Kobi — [for a] Jewish congrega-
tion from Chicago, the trip was in
Jerusalem — and we took them to
a refugee camp, a Palestinian refu-
gee camp, and there we had this
amazing food…. Then we had a
joint band, Israeli and Palestinian
musicians, and we did some belly-
dancing. If you don’t know any,
I’ll teach you later. But when we
left, both sides, they were crying
because they did not want to leave.
Three years later, those relation-
ships still exist.
Imagine with me if the 1 billion
people who travel internationally
every year travel like this, not
being taken in the bus from one
side to another, from one hotel to
another, taking pictures from the
windows of their buses of people
and cultures, but actually connecting with people. .
For more information: convn.org/
The Decision Process
YES OR NO Nearly 75% of respondents
are responsible for making the decision
GETTING IN THE WAY 61% say cost is
the highest barrier to attending, while
41% say it’s “difficult to get away” to
attend a meeting.
DEAL S WEE TENERS To help convince
those who don’t attend every year,
60% of respondents want “some type
of discount or subsidy to help defray
costs,” while 37% are looking for “a
destination/city I want to visit.”
HOLDING OUT Only 8% say nothing
could convince them to attend.
THE SPIRIT IS WILLING If
circumstances allowed, 65% of all
respondents would attend more often —
with Gen Y at 79%, Gen X at 71%,
Baby Boomers at 63%, and pre-Boomers at 46%.
LEAD TIME 84% of respondents
make the decision to attend two to six
months before a meeting.
AROUND THE BLOCK 80% prefer
to stay in one of the official meeting
The Decision to Attend Study + Peace, Love, and Reservations
ON THE WEB
› Download a free copy of The
Decision to Attend Study — Phase
One at convn.org/pcma-attend.
› To contribute your insights,
take a two-question survey at